When you post content on the internet, does it have to be completely original? Many people will automatically say “yes,” but the answer is more complex than that.
There are two ways to generate content to promote your business. One is content creation. That’s what probably comes to mind when you think of content. It’s creating something brand new for your site or social media accounts.
The other is content curation, where you provide links to other people’s work, sometimes accompanied with short comments or quotations. This might sound odd now, but it was the way that people first generated content for the web — and it is still being used successfully today.
A Very Brief History of Content Curation
In the 1990s, back in the early days of the publicly accessible internet, people first started creating blogs. The word blogs, at the time, stood for “web logs.” These early blogs were literally logs — dated lists of links to interesting sites that bloggers came across on their travels around the frontiers of the net. The bloggers were eager to share these links with what we would now consider their tiny audiences.
A few years later, blogging software appeared on the scene, making blogging possible for people who weren’t techies. Content curation grew beyond personal logs, and the readership mushroomed. But content curation was no longer the main form of blogging.
The rise of social media brought content curation back in a big way, as people rediscovered the fun of passing on links to their friends and followers.
Why Small and Medium Businesses Should Use Content Curation
Creating original content will always be important for content marketers. However, it is time-consuming. Adding content curation to the mix can help you meet your content goals. Curated content is also very shareable.
The key to having content curation work for you is to think about the “curation” part. Good content curation doesn’t just throw random links up on the screen. You need a content curation strategy.
The word “curation” brings to mind an exhibit at a museum, where an expert has carefully selected each piece of art from many possibilities. The same is true for curated content. When you or your writer select content that will interest your readers, you add value. By sifting through possibilities to find the best choices, you save your readers time, draw their attention to things they might otherwise never have discovered, and establish yourself as an expert at the same time.
Content curation is especially popular and powerful on social media. In fact, top marketers are now using a mix of 65 percent original content, 25 percent curated content, and 10 percent syndicated content on social media.
You can also create hybrid content. This blog post itself is an example of that. Up to now, you’ve been reading original content. But in the next section, the post will shift into content curation, before returning again to newly created content …
Examples of Content Creation and Content Curation in Action
DXC Blogs — These award-winning blogs provide frequent original posts for readers wanting cutting-edge information about the technology industry.
Penelope Trunk — Penelope writes a popular blog about careers — and herself — to promote her coaching and courses for career changers.
The Social Scoop — The creators of this weekly newsletter and blog sift through reams of information to find the week’s three best items about social media for marketing professionals.
The Moz Top 10 — This curated list for marketers comes out twice a month and contains the 10 best articles about digital marketing and SEO that the famous Moz folks could find.
Content Curation Tips
1. Set up Google alerts to make sure you get the latest news on your topic. Adjust your search phrase if you are getting too many or too few articles.
2. Be respectful of copyrights. Make sure you attribute any content you use to its original source. If you use other people’s images, get permission from the copyright holder first unless the image is in the public domain or has a license for re-use. Attribute Creative Commons licenses correctly.
3. If quoting from other people’s material, use short quotes rather than lengthy blocks of text. This will help you avoid copyright violations as well as any potential SEO issues with duplicate content.
4. Develop a solid content curation strategy. Consider who you want to reach, what they consider interesting and important, and how often you want to post.
5. Save time by hiring experienced freelance content curators to help you do the research, find the best links, and pull it all together into compelling pieces of content. The talented folks at WriterAccess are ready to help.
Marjorie R has written articles online for more than 15 years and has also written humor for American Greetings and crossword puzzles for the New York Times. She wrote an entertainment blog that was consistently in the top 5 in the Google search results, and at its peak was #1 out of a total of 66,499,997 results. She has a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley, an M.A. in Creative Writing/English from SF State, and a J.D. from UC Hastings.